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Home > Bugs > Bugs of Vegetables > Colorado Potato Beetle

Colorado Potato Beetle—Leptinotarsa decemlineata

The common black and yellow-striped "potato bug" is the most serious insect pest of potatoes. Both the striped beetle and the black-spotted, red larva feed on potato leaves. Their damage can greatly reduce yield and even kill plants. In addition to potato, Colorado potato beetle can be a serious pest of tomato, eggplant, and pepper.

 

Colorado potato beetle larva Colorado potato beetle adult Colorado potato beetle eggs
Larvae are dark red and humpbacked with a dark head and two rows of black spots along the sides of the abdomen. They often feed in groups and damage can be severe. The larval stage lasts two to three weeks. Adult beetles are approximately ½ inch long with an oval, convex body. There are 10 alternating yellow and black stripes on the wing covers. Female beetles lay orange-yellow eggs in batches of about two dozen on the underside of the leaves. Each female can lay 500 or more eggs over a 4 to 5 week period.
     

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Identification and Control Information (each will open in a new window)

 

 

[Photos, left to right: Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org; Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org; Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org]

 
It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.